Single payer bill could fix COVID inequalities, advocates say Spectrum News No time for Medicare…
For Immediate Release
March 8, 2021
The New York Health Act: Still a Bad Idea
One year later, we are still working to eradicate COVID-19. Despite the pandemic, sponsors of the New York Health Act (NYHA) have reintroduced the legislation. Supporters sell the proposal as a cure-all. That is simply not the case.
The NYHA would require more than $250 billion in new taxes. That is a quarter-trillion dollars in additional taxes New Yorkers will have to pay.
Any savings from the NYHA would come about through cuts to doctors, hospitals and other providers. Those on the front lines would not be able to meet the demands of situations like a pandemic with less revenue.
The NYHA would ban the use of private health insurance. The sponsors’ economist is cited predicting up to 150,000 New Yorkers could lose their job. At a time when much of the State is struggling to create employment opportunities, any proposal that eliminates that many jobs should not be considered.
What we have seen during the COVID-19 crisis is how the current public-private partnership has helped keep the health care delivery system afloat, from the initial rapid response to the pandemic to now. Private insurers stepped up to provide grace periods for premium payments, to provide additional funding for PPE, to work collaboratively with providers to ensure testing and vaccine services, to both accelerate and advance funds to hospitals and other providers that needed immediate cash infusions, , and to make telehealth readily available. Despite the job losses as a result of the pandemic, New York’s insured rate has remained stable – 95% of New Yorkers have health insurance coverage today.
There is always room for improvement to ensure affordable and quality health care is available for all New Yorkers, especially during a pandemic. But an expensive, government-run single payer experiment as proposed by the New York Health Act is not the answer.
“Poll after poll continue to show the vast majority of New Yorkers are happy with their current health plan. Given our current economic situation at the state level, continuing to suggest replacing our system with one that triples taxes and kills jobs makes less sense than ever,” said Heather Briccetti, President and CEO of the Business Council of NYS.
“Requiring that all care be paid under a Medicaid-like system, which only reimburses hospitals for about 67 cents for every dollar of their costs, would be the death knell for many institutions already weakened by the COVID pandemic. We should instead be focused on stabilizing the healthcare system for all New Yorkers and addressing the 5 percent of the population that is uninsured,” said Wendy Darwell, President and CEO of the Suburban Hospital Alliance of New York State.
“The past year has been one filled with heartbreak, loss, anxiety, and confusion, including for New York’s battered and beleaguered small businesses. The main street businesses we all love and identify with have sacrificed much the past 12 months to protect the health and safety of their workers, customers, and communities. If New York hopes to realize an economic recovery that starts with local entrepreneurship and job creation, the last thing lawmakers in Albany should be promoting is hundreds of billions of new taxes for small businesses already confronting challenges that are unprecedented and remain unpredictable,” said Greg Biryla, NFIB’s Sr. State Director in New York.
“The New York Health Act would destroy the existing insurance market and hurt consumers by removing their ability to choose the best healthcare for their needs. Independent insurance agents and brokers are committed to helping New Yorkers protect what matters most. We believe consumers are best served by a competitive market rather than a single option dictated by state government,” said David MacLachlan, CPCU, Chair of Big I NY.
“Enacting a single-payer health care system would be disastrous for Upstate taxpayers and employers. This scheme would eliminate tens of thousands of Upstate jobs and impose massive tax hikes on employees and employers. It will take years to rebuild the Upstate economy due to the financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This measure, if enacted, would completely crush any hopes of a post-COVID recovery. Rather than completely dismantling our current system, leaders in Albany should focus on improving our existing system and achieving universal coverage. Considering that 95 percent of New Yorkers currently have health coverage, this goal is within reach,” said Zach Sampson, Spokesperson for Unshackle Upstate.